View Full Version : Could my husband have ADD?


bluemoon68
09-23-14, 05:22 AM
Me and my husband have been together for many years. We had a lots of ups and downs in our relationship but we have always pull through. I always kind of knew that my husband had some issues but I tried to deal with them for the sake of my children. He is a very good guy but these issues sometimes made me doubt about him but now that I have read about this condition I am beginning to understand. I will try to explain briefly his behaviour patterns to see if someone can identify them as ADD.

-If he hyperfocus on something he will not reason or listen to anything he will have his mind fix on whatever he's focusing on. Examp. If he's watching TV and he knows I need a hand with the kids or setting the table he will not take the initiative to do it you need to keep asking him he will keep saying wait and I will do it and at the end I end up doing it myself to avoid conflict.

-He will make a big argument about something very insignificant and then will say that he was joking (even though he was serious) or that I take things to deeply. He will miss the important bits of the argument and will twist it around to make it my fault even thought it wasn't. Then 10 minutes later he will forget about it and act very normal like nothing has happened.

-When I try to reason with him about the insignificance of the argument and explain we shouldn't argue about petty things like that that life is too short he understands fully and he says it's not going to happen again but it does. As well when he has to think too deeply about some issues he starts yawning and falls sleep.

-When we are talking about something serious he will get easily distracted and will interrupt the conversation with something totally unrelated.
While conversing with me or others he will interrupt quite often not letting people finish what they were saying.

-When he's interested in doing a task, he will do it but if not interested he will leave it until the last minute. For example I have clean, tidy up and do tasks that I am not interested in but I have to do them, but he will not realize that even thought they are boring tasks they need to be done so he will try to avoid them and I will have to keep asking them to do them he will complaint first saying that I am obsess about keeping the place tidy and then he will do them.

-If he makes a mess he will not consider that there are other people in the house, even though he heard me saying million times to clear up after his mess he will still not clear I feel that I am dealing with a child.

-When he's tired he's a very difficult person to deal with.

-He doesn't express his internal conflicts easily I have to sit down and talk to him other ways he will not tell me. If he has an internal conflict he will make your life hell until he comes out with his problem, instead of doing it the other way around.

-He can be withdrawn and quite without realizing it, and when you question him about it he will say that he is fine that there is nothing worrying him.

-He will make mistakes in his life and we as a family are very understanding towards him and will offer him support but if any of us makes a mistake, just petty insignificant one he will be very upset and will put us down even though we have been there for him when he needed us.

I really love him, and most of the times I do most of the things to avoid conflicts the only time when I cannot ignore is when he hurts my feelings, but lately I am thinking about coping techniques to not allow him to hurt my feelings because I am beginning to think that he has no control of that and he is not a bad person but something in his mind it's not functioning right.

At times he could be a very good listener and very understanding when it comes to my own little problems and I really appreciate him for that he has been a shoulder to cry on many times in my life when I feel emotionally weak and insecure.

I would like to help him and improve the quality of our relationship. I just need some advice about this behavioural patters and ADD.

Thank you for reading my post :)

Fuzzy12
09-23-14, 08:59 AM
Some of the symptoms you mentioned do sound like ADHD but it's impossible to say from a list. How long has he had these symptoms? For ADHD, they need to have been prevalent since child hood.

The best would be to see a psychiatrist. Good luck!! :)

VeryTired
09-23-14, 09:11 AM
Bluemoon, welcome!

Sympathy to you--much of what you describe can be very frustrating or painful. And lots of what you mention is familiar to me.

Fuzzy is right, for a diagnosis, your husband needs to see a doctor. But many people do reach an ADHD diagnosis because their partner recognizes a pattern in their behavior, and suggests speaking to the doctor. It's important that he see a doctor who is expert in or knowledgeable about ADHD --not every doctor specializes in this.

Knowledge is power, and it's available from many sources. You can read a lot here at the Forums if you go backwards through the history of earlier postings. The non-ADD partner board may be particularly helpful to you because it tends to reflect a perspective similar to your own, but you should also read elsewhere here to see how people who do have ADHD describe their lives, symptoms, experiences--that will help build your understanding as well.

There are many books and videos about adult ADHD which you and your husband can read or watch. I like Gina Pera's book "Is It You, Me or Adult ADD?" which is oriented toward non-ADHD partners. But there are lots of other choices as well. So my advice is to gather more information, and talk with your husband about the idea of seeing a doctor. Sometimes spouses and partners accompany people with ADHD to the initial diagnosis meeting with the doctor--it can help the doctor to have both people's input and description.

Good luck--let us know how things go--all good wishes--

bluemoon68
09-23-14, 10:32 AM
Fuzzy12, my husband mentions that when he was young he found it very hard to concentrate in class especially in his teenage years and that was why he never achieved good grades to go to University, both parents passed away so I cannot ask and he hasn't got any brothers or sisters so it's very hard to know, but perhaps he had it and they have never diagnosed because lack of knowledge about the condition. I would like to try and get him to see a psychiatrist but he's not very keen on doing so, so it's difficult for me to know that is why I have approached the ADD Forums.

jende2
09-23-14, 01:16 PM
I will write more later, as I am at work. However, much of what you have written sounds like ADHD. My boyfriend has it, and was diagnosed by a psychiatrist. A lot of what you write sounds like my boyfriend.

someothertime
09-23-14, 04:28 PM
This guy sounds identical to myself. What is most relevant here is whether he is functional...... in social, employment and family.

If two of these areas are problematic..... he will need to see that and get the required help.

Even without ADHD, getting these things across in a way that is clear and supportive will go a long way in him perhaps seeking some support.

The point about being especially critical of others is a good starting point.

Does he manage to complete many personal tasks / goals?

JJJJJJJJJJ
09-26-14, 02:08 PM
Bluemoon, don't take this wrong but I laughed almost hysterically through the first half of your post. I could really identify with your description of your husband! Been there done that!

Getting on some ADD medication plus dietary changes and supplements definitely helped me. I don't hyperfocus as much.

A few thoughts:

He seems to care about you; although I'm sure you question that at times.

I fear that there will always be a little of the 10yr old irresponsible boy in him.

You will likely need to provide the leadership and organization for projects that don't interest him.

While he is hyperfocusing on something, you can't assume that anything you say is really getting into his head. If he is focused on a game on TV, you'll have to wait until commercial. ( this will sound very inappropriate, but if he is attracted to you physically, taking your top off in an attractive way might break his hyperfocus on the TV long enough for you to get a thought into his intellect. If he has $ on a playoff game involving his favorite team, only a fire in the house will break his hyperfocus. Please don't take it personally. )

If he is the type who finds it difficult to read a book unless he is really interested, you might have to help him learn about ADHD via videos. Dr Daniel Amen probably has one based on his good book on the subject. You'd of course have to schedule a date night for it so he won't be distracted by something more interesting to him. It might help to hint that if the evening goes well you'll likely be interested in doing something afterwards that he likes--hint hint ; )

There are screening checklists available. the one in Dr Amen's book Healing th e Hardware of the Soul was the one that convinced me. I made copies and had trusted relatives fill it out based on their perception of me. I got the message : ) Having my SO warn that unless I did something our relationship was over also was very important motivation! I truly love her even though I was driving her nuts.

Sociological data suggests that guys tend to be sensitive to being disrespected whereas women tend to be more sensitive to being unloved. A discussion of a possible ADD problem may make him feel weak, insufficient, etc, something that he naturally won't like. Guys tend to get angry when they feel disrespected; whereas a woman might cry when she feels unloved.

Dr Amen's information will help him to understand that ADD is likely a medical problem, not something for psychological weaklings. Culturally we don't feel embarrassed when we have a high cholesterol or high blood sugar problem. They are medical problems. We deal with it and move on without taking it personally. Some people don't see psychiatric problems in the same way. They don't realize there is a possible imbalance in brain chemicals that can be corrected to some extent like the cholesterol or blood sugar problems.

I'm sorry that you'll be treating him somewhat like a 10 yr old boy; however, if indeed he has ADD, his brain is probably somewhat deficient like a 10 yr old boy's.

Some combo of medication, supplements, diet and healthy ways of thinking might help him to be more normal. That has been my experience. It has been helpful in my relationship with my SO and others.

Joe

Pentax
09-26-14, 10:56 PM
While he is hyperfocusing on something, you can't assume that anything you say is really getting into his head.

or hyperfocusing on everything at the same time :yes:

If he is focused on a game on TV, you'll have to wait until commercial.
Joe

You've helped me, Joe. I'm about halfway through learning that there's no negotiating with hyperfocus, even if the roof is on fire, and that whatever it is that's going on that he's not focused on will have to wait.

However, I've been under the impression that your post suggests is mistaken that if he says "I'm listening" or if he stops what he's doing and turns to face me, that he's shifting his attention my way. If I understand you right, his hyperfocus will override even those gestures, if he's hyperfocusing. "I'm listening" won't in fact be true. He'll be doing something like sleep talking to me, no?

If he's not hyperfocusing, "I'm listening" more likely will mean he's listening.

Did I get it?

...sheesh, Apple needs to invent a hyperfocus mood ring, so people observing can know when ADHD-grade hyperfocus is going on. Everyone's head is in the clouds nowadays, what with people walking straight into traffic because they're texting, or people talking out loud to absent conversation partners via ear pieces. Back when, someone talking out loud in public places, with no visible conversation partner around was certified nuts. Nowadays, it means someone is locked on to something coming through an earpiece.

It's really hard from the outside to tell who is "here" and who is "elsewhere" in their mind. Few of us glaze our eyes...few of us walk into traffic

...that coming from a non ADHDer who is usually "elsewhere" :)

sarahsweets
09-27-14, 05:15 AM
Adhd symptoms must have been present in childhood and impair your life in 2 (I think) or more areas for it to be considered adhd.

Pentax
09-27-14, 07:52 AM
Thanks Sarah. I'm here to learn to live well with someone who definitely qualifies, and who has been under professional care for it, in the past, and has taken some hard lumps growing up because he has it. I ask questions on this site about only part of it

I appreciate y our concern that some fluffy diagnosing might be going on. ADHD is one of the diagnoses du jour, and there is some inaccurate diagnosing and frivolous self diagnosing going on all right

Pentax
09-27-14, 08:03 AM
Me and my husband have been together for many years. We had a lots of ups and downs in our relationship but we have always pull through. I always kind of knew that my husband had some issues but I tried to deal with them for the sake of my children. He is a very good guy but these issues sometimes made me doubt about him but now that I have read about this condition I am beginning to understand. I will try to explain briefly his behaviour patterns to see if someone can identify them as ADD.

-If he hyperfocus on something he will not reason or listen to anything he will have his mind fix on whatever he's focusing on. Examp. If he's watching TV and he knows I need a hand with the kids or setting the table he will not take the initiative to do it you need to keep asking him he will keep saying wait and I will do it and at the end I end up doing it myself to avoid conflict.

-He will make a big argument about something very insignificant and then will say that he was joking (even though he was serious) or that I take things to deeply. He will miss the important bits of the argument and will twist it around to make it my fault even thought it wasn't. Then 10 minutes later he will forget about it and act very normal like nothing has happened.

-When I try to reason with him about the insignificance of the argument and explain we shouldn't argue about petty things like that that life is too short he understands fully and he says it's not going to happen again but it does. As well when he has to think too deeply about some issues he starts yawning and falls sleep.

-When we are talking about something serious he will get easily distracted and will interrupt the conversation with something totally unrelated.
While conversing with me or others he will interrupt quite often not letting people finish what they were saying.

-When he's interested in doing a task, he will do it but if not interested he will leave it until the last minute. For example I have clean, tidy up and do tasks that I am not interested in but I have to do them, but he will not realize that even thought they are boring tasks they need to be done so he will try to avoid them and I will have to keep asking them to do them he will complaint first saying that I am obsess about keeping the place tidy and then he will do them.

-If he makes a mess he will not consider that there are other people in the house, even though he heard me saying million times to clear up after his mess he will still not clear I feel that I am dealing with a child.

-When he's tired he's a very difficult person to deal with.

-He doesn't express his internal conflicts easily I have to sit down and talk to him other ways he will not tell me. If he has an internal conflict he will make your life hell until he comes out with his problem, instead of doing it the other way around.

-He can be withdrawn and quite without realizing it, and when you question him about it he will say that he is fine that there is nothing worrying him.

-He will make mistakes in his life and we as a family are very understanding towards him and will offer him support but if any of us makes a mistake, just petty insignificant one he will be very upset and will put us down even though we have been there for him when he needed us.

I really love him, and most of the times I do most of the things to avoid conflicts the only time when I cannot ignore is when he hurts my feelings, but lately I am thinking about coping techniques to not allow him to hurt my feelings because I am beginning to think that he has no control of that and he is not a bad person but something in his mind it's not functioning right.

At times he could be a very good listener and very understanding when it comes to my own little problems and I really appreciate him for that he has been a shoulder to cry on many times in my life when I feel emotionally weak and insecure.

I would like to help him and improve the quality of our relationship. I just need some advice about this behavioural patters and ADD.

Thank you for reading my post :)

Welcome to the site Blue Moon. I'm a non ADHD wife. This site has been such a help because people with ADHD have been so kind and generous with each other and with people like me in saying "when I do X, this is what is going on inside of me, this is what I'm needing at the moment". That has given me all kinds of confirmations and new angles to think from about my offline relation. Glad you're here

JJJJJJJJJJ
09-27-14, 11:54 AM
or hyperfocusing on everything at the same time ...

Honestly, that is not my experience. It is one thing at a time for me.


However, I've been under the impression that your post suggests is mistaken that if he says "I'm listening" or if he stops what he's doing and turns to face me, that he's shifting his attention my way. If I understand you right, his hyperfocus will override even those gestures, if he's hyperfocusing. "I'm listening" won't in fact be true. He'll be doing something like sleep talking to me, no?

If he's not hyperfocusing, "I'm listening" more likely will mean he's listening.

Did I get it?


I don't claim to know your loved one; however, if I'm hyperfocused on a game and someone in the doorway asks me a question, I might turn my head and say "yes" or "ok" but my ears are still locked on the game. I'll likely be irritated that I've been interrupted. I might just give a quick answer to placate or passify the person. If I committed to doing something, I probably will forget to do it. I need to write a note to remember.

I'm mostly describing myself before starting on supplements and meds. I don't hyperfocus as intensely now; however, that does not mean that I can prioritize well. I'm still more likely to choose the task that I like over the one that really should be done. A boring task that will involve lots of organization will be delayed unless someone else is providing the leadership. My SO can help me by getting me started. Just reminding me to do something is almost worthless. I need help to organize and plan it. Once I'm focused on the project, I have a chance of taking a bite out of it.

Again it probably feels like a husband is a 10 yr old son doing homework he does not like. I'm sure you'd like to have a husband with solid leadership and organizational skills for you and your family, but remember AD(H)D is a medical problem. Getting the right medical support is likely to help him to be more of the man he can--and probably wants--to be.

Pentax
09-28-14, 09:11 PM
Thanks for the confirmation back on my question, Joe.

I'd like to tell you a little more about my husband. I don't feel like he is a 10 year old. He's got impetuosity in him that most men his age don't have, but that doesn't translate to me thinking he's a recalcitrant boy.

As it turns out, he has excellent, effective communication and organizational skills related to his work and work relations, and has a fine mind, so we can connect in the abstract on just about any large pattern project before us. We usually start a project by talking about it in the abstract and reasoning about it. We talk about what our goals are at that early stage. You can't go anywhere without a target, so we agree on a common target. He also has put his mind to devising a memory system for keeping himself on track in a job and life that has a lot of complexity. He's lived with his condition for a very long time.

So we pre-organize well, and we get through a blocking out of timing of major pieces in a sequence. His habits don't include weaving my tasks into the sequence with his. I help with his tasks or do a task he directs me to do, he doesn't help with mine. This is in part because if he's doing something that requires a new configuration of attention and is not habitual, he has to lock in to his sequence to proceed on it, and has no way to make sequential sense of shifting back and forth from his next immediate target to one of mine, and then back to one of his. He'll go off the rails of his sequence and have a hard time getting going again, if he diverges from what he has set himself to do.

It's always interesting to see what the resources are that someone draws on, to compensate for a natural shortcoming or limitation. He has had some courage there, over time. He has definitely looked for ways to reach his goals using things within himself that override the usual limitations listed on this site: impulsiveness (some is fine; wrecking your day or your relationships with impulsiveness is not; he counterbalances, usually with a commitment), executive function problems, issues of attention, sleep problems, and quite a lot that are listed elsewhere on the site.

Generally in his life, there are days and times that he loses it, or gets blocked up and can't start something, but he picks himself up and goes at it again. He's been at this a long time. He's had to live with it all a long time.

Once it gets closer to the present or to the due date of beginning a project (cf. Dr. Barkley's video that Red Haired Witch put up a few weeks ago) thinking in the abstract shifts over to execution, and we use my ability to visualize things in parts related to wholes, visualize physical or social processes with outcomes, and pre-think spatial distributions, since I seem to have those skills well enough and he's not good on those things.

So you get the idea: we conceptualize the frame of something we agree needs done; he sets the timing of his parts; we either operate completely independently in process, two tracking, me with my tasks on the project alongside him with his; or we use me in the shared execution to handle part/whole, movement in space, and to guide physical flow, and that's when I become directive and he shifts over to doing what I say, but we often need that only at the transitions of the execution, the down moments where the question is asked "OK what do we do next"

We haven't been together that long. I'd say we only have learned this this last year, in part because I kept breaking down projects into parts when the whole of them were stymying him, until he saw that we could break things down. We're beginners at this.

I've been groomed by what my culture expects of women to notice and keep in my head fields of domestic physical details ("Honey, did you see the...?") so that's of use. But he also struggles hard to keep track of his own things. By the way, women don't naturally know how to do that. It doesn't come with having a womb. Mine has some trouble picking objects out of a field. So you can imagine what happens when messes compound in the house. Because I'm a visualizer, sometimes I can remember where it is. I also seem to think deductively about space better than he does. I haven't figured that one out. He has a rapier sharp analytic mind but somehow doesn't do well deducing where something more probably will be. That last is just a comment, not one on ADHD per se.

We're starting to use our different capabilities in our shared life. Due to his work, and due to mine, we've both done leadership, and I've done management, too. We divide the lead. That would be how I'd want it any way, whoever I married. Why not share what can be shared.

What doesn't happen, however, is that he becomes mentally involved or give time and labor, to my needs. There's unevenness in who spends time and labor. So I'm working a lot more than I was when I started seeing him. This, I gather, is par for the course.

I consider ADHD to be considerably more than a medical problem, as lived, but I think your caution that it requires medical support is a remark that needs to be made over and over. Thank you.

It sounds like you and your SO have a great relationship, and one that works well. That's great to hear.

JJJJJJJJJJ
09-29-14, 10:49 PM
Pentax, your teamwork sounds excellent. I would find that very helpful.

Does he have some OCD tendencies--compulsive rather than impulsive? I certainly don't identify with significant parts of what you describe about him. I don't have a history of OCD.

Sorry, I don't know anything about his lack of support for your obligations. I am not that way. I have a history of workaholic tendencies--first born, etc. I've had to do much for my SO but even with my good intentions, I'll get distracted by something more interesting and be late for something important to her.

My relationship with my SO has had its ups and downs. There are many admirable aspects to it and I am grateful for it. Since we both have, and especially had, health and mood problems, there have been many difficult moments. Life and relationships certainly work better with better health! Our current situation is encouraging.

Pentax
09-30-14, 07:44 AM
Thanks, Joe

He's worked very hard to gain the habits that he's got that I've described, and he puts a huge amount of his day into using them daily. I'm leaving a lot of our life offline. What you read is a partial picture.

I think it triggered me when an earlier post contained a generalization that wives of men with ADHD think, or are lIable to think that they're living with recalcitrant little boys.

I responded describing my husband's successes in one area of his life, that he devised and accomplished, with no counseling or coaching over his lifetime, because those accommodations didn't exist when he had to take himself in hand. he very certainly has never had breaks and accommodations in his work assignments. he used and has used his mind and moral commitments to discover his own ways to deal with his workworld, handling a classic set of attention, memory, impulsivity and other impediments to is his own accomplishment, and I won't have him lumped into a generalization that he's a little boy or me into one that I think of him as one. I need to be a realist about both of us, but I'm also fiercely loyal to him and proud of him.

Don't read his success in that part of his life as evidence that he does or doesn't have challenges similar to yours. Again, I'm keeping a lot of his life and mine off line.

He has put an astonishing amount of discipline into manning up to do the extra work and problem solving that his particular package of conditions put on his shoulders daily. He had a scarring childhood due to how he was treated because of his ADHD that I won't describe online. The last thing the ADHD community needs is to discount a success of its own members.

Thanks for your reply and thoughtfulness. It is very welcome.

Wrenchman
10-07-14, 12:12 AM
Thanks, Joe

He's worked very hard to gain the habits that he's got that I've described, and he puts a huge amount of his day into using them daily. I'm leaving a lot of our life offline. What you read is a partial picture.

I think it triggered me when an earlier post contained a generalization that wives of men with ADHD think, or are lIable to think that they're living with recalcitrant little boys.

I responded describing my husband's successes in one area of his life, that he devised and accomplished, with no counseling or coaching over his lifetime, because those accommodations didn't exist when he had to take himself in hand. he very certainly has never had breaks and accommodations in his work assignments. he used and has used his mind and moral commitments to discover his own ways to deal with his workworld, handling a classic set of attention, memory, impulsivity and other impediments to is his own accomplishment, and I won't have him lumped into a generalization that he's a little boy or me into one that I think of him as one. I need to be a realist about both of us, but I'm also fiercely loyal to him and proud of him.

Don't read his success in that part of his life as evidence that he does or doesn't have challenges similar to yours. Again, I'm keeping a lot of his life and mine off line.

He has put an astonishing amount of discipline into manning up to do the extra work and problem solving that his particular package of conditions put on his shoulders daily. He had a scarring childhood due to how he was treated because of his ADHD that I won't describe online. The last thing the ADHD community needs is to discount a success of its own members.

Thanks for your reply and thoughtfulness. It is very welcome.

Your Husband is a very lucky man to have a wife who is so supportive and understanding !!!! Kudos to you as well I know it is not easy!!!!